Alright, in the tab below you have our first set of exercises. Let’s break them down individually.
Exercise #1: I’m sure you recognize this as the classic Paul Gilbert-pattern. Truth is that it’s one of THE most effective exercises to improve your string crossing. It’s because the amount of notes is so little, that you get to cross strings a lot more often in shorter time than with most other exercises. This lick starts with a downstroke, this means you’re outside picking most of the time, meaning you ascend to a higher string with an upstroke and descend to a lower string with a downstroke. The pick moves around the string before hitting it.
Exercise #2: Of course outside picking is just 50% of what alternate picking is about. In this variation we’ll turn the above pattern upside down. That way it turns into an inside picking exercise (note: descending with upstroke, ascending with downstroke). A lot of players feel less comfortable with inside picking, because the pick gets “caught” between two strings. This exercise should help that.
The reason for the rhythmic pattern shifting between a mid-paced tempo and fast bursts is to improve stamina, while the short bursts allow you to push your speed a little more than if you played a long stream of sextuplets. The video also shows a few more possibilities and variations on these licks.
Every lick is played with alternate picking starting on a downstroke.